John E. Stith
Reckoning Infinity (1997)
I'll be brief, since there is little to say about this book. Reckoning Infinity is a model case of a Big Dumb Object novel. At the start, an accident at a space station sets up the human drama for the rest of the novel. The development between the protagonists is signaled clearly along the way, no surprises there. Oh, right, the BDO: Dubbed Cantaloupe from its external appearance, it is a 100km-diameter spherical object hurtling at 0.03c towards the solar system. The exploration ship that first discovers the puzzling object sends down a crew who becomes lost, decimated, and gets to see a lot of bizarre and wholly enigmatic sights while wandering around the mysterious body.
The parallels to Arthur C. Clarke's classic Rendezvous With Rama are striking; add to that Stith's style which is also reminiscent of old Clarke. The novel is crafted in a model way, old story, nicely written. Hardish science fiction, with little background exposition and no bloat. Pleasingly executed, if nowhere original.
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